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A Moment Of Silence To Remember Newtown Victims


It is raining in Newtown, Connecticut, where people observed a moment of silence seven days to the minute after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. NPR's Kirk Siegler is in Newtown; he's on the line. And Kirk, what do you see this morning?

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Well, right now, Steve, the bells are still ringing, as you may be able to hear in the background here. It's a very moving scene. People have literally stopped. The town is at a standstill. All the traffic has stopped. People are lined up and down the sidewalks huddled under umbrellas. As you said, the weather here is very miserable. There's a driving rain. There's also a lot of press and TV cameras. In fact, they're sort of outnumbering some of the people from where I can see - some of the townspeople who have come in.

But, yeah, it's a very moving scene one week to the day since one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. And I think there'd probably be even more people out here were it not for the pretty nasty weather.

INSKEEP: The bell ringing, is that correlating to the more than two dozen dead?

SIEGLER: Each bell that - yeah, each bell that you hear in the background is for the adults - the six adults killed in the school and the twenty children. You can hear it in the background ringing here at the Newtown meeting house where we're standing...

INSKEEP: And Kirk Siegler, we've lost - there we go.

SIEGLER: the village of downtown.

INSKEEP: Kirk Siegler, I want to ask something else. Because there are bells ringing in this same way - or there have been in recent minutes, bells ringing the same way in many parts of the country this morning, you've been in Newtown, Connecticut the past several days. Do you have a sense that people there feel supported by the rest of the country?

SIEGLER: Yeah, that's one thing you hear, Steve, a lot around here in talking to people in town and around all the makeshift memorials that I've been speaking to. People are - they're obviously in deep grief and very sad. But the one positive thing they're talking about is all of the outpouring of support they say they've been getting, from not just around the country but from around the world. People have been sending in donations. They've been sending calls of support. All kinds of things have been coming in and I think people around here are very grateful of that. And some people probably haven't even been able to even think about that yet, as they're still in deep mourning.

INSKEEP: Are people in the community talking about ways to remember what happened, to remember the lives that were lost, as we get beyond this marking of one week since the shooting? Are people thinking about what they'll do in the future, Kirk Siegler?

SIEGLER: Well, I think they're - I think those conversations will come, but quite frankly, at least in the people I've been speaking to, they're still trying to process all of this. This is a horrific tragedy, as has been widely reported. And people here are still trying to wrap their heads around why this would happen in their town and in a school that they feel they did everything right. It was a safe zone, they thought.

So I think it's still yet to be seen, you know, whether there'll be a - I'm sure there'll be some sort of official dedication, memorial that will come up here. But I think people are still just in deep grief and trying to process what's happening and trying also to try to figure out how to prevent future tragedies like this.

INSKEEP: Reminder that people have to ask questions, we have to ask questions why, even knowing that we won't really have answers in the end. Kirk, thanks very much.

SIEGLER: Glad to do it.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Kirk Siegler. He is in Newtown, Connecticut, where church bells rang and a moment of silence was held in honor of the victims who were killed one week ago today. It's NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Kirk Siegler
As a correspondent on NPR's national desk, Kirk Siegler covers rural life, culture and politics from his base in Boise, Idaho.
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